Best Beer and Food Pairings

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Unbeknownst to many beer drinkers and food connoisseurs alike, the best beer and food pairings can elevate any dish and bring out certain flavors that you may not have noticed before. With so many depths of flavor in beer — the possibilities are endless.

AMBER ALE, RED ALE

Meals: Chicken, Seafood, Beef, Burgers, Lamb, Great with any style of Spicy Cuisine.

Why: Intensity. You need a complex, heavy beer that can help balance out the stronger flavors in your food (certain flavors can be overwhelmed when you drink a light beer with a flavorful dish).

Beer Options: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Dale’s Pale Ale, Terrapin Rye Pale Ale, Newcastle Brown Ale, New Belgian Fat Tire

Cheeses: Port Salut or some other tangy cheese.

Desserts: Pound Cake, Poached Pears, Pecan Laced Cookies

Did You Know: Hops in beer have been shown to help lower cholesterol and prevent blood clotting.

LAGER, PILSNER

Meals: Pizza, Fish, Barbeque, Chili

Why: Composition. A dry, crisp beer with balanced hops can help overcome the strong, bold flavors of a pizza’s seasonings, the oiliness of certain types of fish, smoked barbeque, or a spicy and flavorful chili. An added bonus is the fact that the hops can scrub your taste-buds between bites, which can help in enhancing the flavor of both the beer and the food.

Beer Options: Stella Artois, Grolsch Premium Lager, Amstel Lager, Harp Lager, Brooklyn Lager, Budweiser

Cheeses: Monterey Jack cheeses, White cheddar

Desserts: Bread pudding

Did You Know: Steaks soaked in a pilsner or lager for 6 hours before pan-frying have been known to reduce the carcinogen in the meat.

FARMHOUSE ALE

Meals: Bratwurst, Sausage, Beef, Pork, Chicken

Why: Region. European beers taste great with meat cooked in European styles. Carry this lesson over to other regional dishes to help complement their respected undertones: a Mexican cerveza with tacos, an Asian beer with sushi, etc, etc.

Beer Options: Smuttynose Farmhouse Ale, Hennepin, Avery Joe’s Premium American Pilsner, Pilsner Urquell, Kirin Lager, Dos Equis Lager

Cheeses: Mild, White Cheddar Cheese

Desserts: Lemon Shortbread, Fresh Berries

Did You Know: The barley used in the brewing process of beer contains flavonoids — which have been known to interfere with the multiplication of cancer cells.

WITBIER (BELGIAN WHITE)

Meals: Great with lighter Chicken Meals, Green Salads, Eggs, Lighter Seafood Meals, Sushi, Vegetable Dishes

Why: Weight / Body. Citrus packed, lighter wheat beers make food taste fresher and cut through the richness of egg yolks and hollandaise sauce.

Beer Options: Hoegaarden, Blue Moon, Shock Top, Allagash White

Cheeses: Buffalo Mozzarella, Wisconsin Brick

Desserts: Not recommended…these beers are generally too light for a dessert pairing.

Did You Know: Wheat beers may help lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

STRONG GOLDEN ALE, BELGIAN PALE ALE, ABBEY

Meals: Salmon, Barbecue, Meaty Stews, Smoked Rib Roast

Why: Body and Strength. The mild yeastiness and sweetness of these beers play off the charred flavors of smoked or grilled food.

Beer Options: Duvel Golden Ale, Leffe Blonde, Blue Moon Pale Ale, Smuttynose Winter Ale

Cheeses: Washed-Rind type cheeses, French Morbier

Desserts: Milk Chocolate, Butter Truffles, Chocolate Pudding

Did You Know: Simply stated without all the medical jargon, the barley used the brewing process contains flavonoids — which have been known to interfere with the multiplication of cancer cells.

STOUT, PORTER, LAMBICS, FRUITY BEERS

Meals: Chocolates and Desserts

Why: Because it does. There are no rules when it comes to picking a beer for your dessert or fruit pairing. My suggestion it to experiment with sweet and fruity beers and see what great combinations you can make.

Beer Options: Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, Samuel Adams Cream Stout, Highland Oatmeal Porter, Purple Haze

Cheeses: Butter, well-aged cheeses

Desserts: Chocolate Cake, Crème Puffs, Tiramisu

Did You Know: There are more disease-fighting antioxidants in lambics than there are in cranberry or orange juice.

Image Source: BigStock